Thousands Protest In Madrid, Condemn Violence Against Women

Women hold placards reading “Justice for women” during a demonstration to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, 2017, at the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Thousands took to the streets of Madrid Saturday to protest violence against women, just as Spain reels from a grisly trial over an alleged gang rape.

Shouting “We’re not scared,” they marched in the Spanish capital on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

At least 45 women have been killed in Spain so far this year by their partner or ex-partner, according to the government’s gender violence department.

Protesters held signs reading “how many more must die,” shouting “they’re not deaths, they’re murders.”

“I want to show how much I reject the situation in this country,” said Jorge Aranda, 40, who works in a health centre, pointing to the 45 deaths this year alone.

“This is unacceptable.”

Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

The protest comes as powerful men in the United States and beyond have fallen from grace following allegations of sexual misconduct, starting with movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

It also coincides with the trial in Spain of five men accused of gang raping a woman, then 18, in July 2016 during the famed Pamplona bull-running festival, a case that has shocked the country.

The men, aged 27 to 29, allegedly filmed the rape and then bragged about it on a WhatsApp messaging group where they referred to themselves as “La Manada”, or “The Pack” in English.

Public prosecutors have asked that the five be sentenced to 22 years in prison each. The men say the woman consented to the sexual encounter but have admitted to stealing her mobile phone.

The judge’s decision to admit as evidence details about the victim’s private life gathered by a private detective — including her presence at a party a few days after the alleged rape — has added to anger over the case.

“In Fuenlabrada, sister, your pack supports you,” read one large banner in the protest. Fuenlabrada is a town in the Madrid suburbs.

Another read: “You’re not alone, I believe you.”

AFP

Pistorius Must Pay For Murdering My Daughter, Victim’s Father Tells Court

pistoriusOscar Pistorius must pay for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, father of the victim told a South African court on Tuesday.

A tearful and trembling Barry Steenkamp said that forgiving the blade runner for his crime was very hard.

The 29-year-old gold Paralympics medallist faces a minimum 15-year jail term after his manslaughter conviction for the 2013 killing, for which he originally received a five-year sentence, was upgraded on appeal.

Called to testify by the lead state prosecutor in Pistorius’s sentencing hearing, Mr Steenkamp said his daughter’s death had devastated her family.

“I ended up having a stroke and so many things since that happened… I just don’t wish that to anybody in this world,” he told the court.

“He has to pay for his crime,” Mr Steenkamp, 73, said of Pistorius.

“A Broken Man”

Mr Steenkamp said he and wife, June, had relied financially on their daughter, and he had “jabbed (himself)… with needles” to try to relive the pain that she went through.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court on Monday, the first day of the hearing, that Pistorius has shown no remorse for shooting and killing Steenkamp when he fired four shots through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home.

Nel disputed a claim by Jonathan Scholtz, a psychologist called by Pistorius’ lawyer that Pistorius was “a broken man” who should be hospitalised and not jailed, saying the track star had been violent while serving his sentence.

According to Reuters, the case has prompted a fierce debate in a country beset by high levels of violent crime against women. Some rights groups have said the white athlete has received preferential treatment.

Earlier on Tuesday Ebba Gudny Gudmundsdottir, from Iceland, described the athlete as an inspiration to her 11-year-old son, who has a similar disability to Pistorius.

The lower part of the athlete’s legs were amputated when he was a baby, and he is known as “Blade Runner” for the carbon-fibre prosthetics he wore when racing.

Rights Commission Asks Women To Report Cases Of Violence

Bem Angwe on violence against womenWomen in Nigeria have been asked to report any form of violence against them to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to ensure their issues are addressed.

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Professor Bem Angwe, said that the demand was part of efforts to protect the rights of women.

Professor Angwe gave the advice in Abuja on Friday.

He said violence against women was increasing because many women had refused to speak up when their rights were violated.

Increasing Cases Of Violence

The rights commission’s head advised officials of the National Council of Women Societies to sensitise women in Nigeria about their rights.

During a meeting between women groups under the umbrella of the National Council of Women and officials of the NHRC, Professor Angwe stated that the focus of the meeting was the increasing cases of violence against women.

The Executive Secretary of the NHRC assured the women of the commission’s preparedness to uphold the rights of women.

The National President of the Council of Women Societies admitted that violence against women throve because many women do not know their rights and those who knew cover up cases of such violence.

The National Human Rights Commission and the National Council of Women Societies later signed a memorandum of understanding to promote and protect the rights of women in Nigeria against all forms of violence.

Nigeria Prohibits Female Circumcision In New Act

Jonathan on female circumcision President Goodluck Jonathan has signed two bills recently passed by the National Assembly into law, one of which prohibits female circumcision.

The new Acts are the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 and the Immigration Act, 2015.

Spokesman for the President, Dr Reuben Abati, confirmed the development to reporters in Abuja on Monday.

The Senate had on May 4 passed the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 into law.

The Act prohibits female circumcision or genital mutilation, forceful ejection from home and harmful widowhood practices.

It also prohibits abandonment of spouse, children and other dependents without sustenance, battery and harmful traditional practices.

The signing of the bill into law is coming four days to the handing over of governance to a new administration.

 

Nations Asked To End Sexual Violence In Conflict

child brideWorld nations have been asked to take decisive action to end sexual violence during armed conflict.

The British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Simon Shercliff, during an event to show support for an international campaign to end sexual violence in conflict, said countries and governments must act to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Agreeing with the envoy, a member of Nigeria’s House of Representative, Honourable Betty Apiafi, said the House would work to come up with the necessary legislation to tackle the problem in Nigeria.

There have been reports of sexual violence against women in Nigeria’s north-east where members of a terrorist group, Boko Haram have carried out series of attacks.

In an attack on a village, Chibok, in Borno State, in April 2014, over 200 girls were abducted from their school dormitory by the group, a situation that triggered international campaign and protests, with a ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ demand.

The Nigerian government told the parents of the abducted girls few months ago that the location of the girls had been identified, promising that they would be rescued.

Court Sentences Akolade Arowolo To Death For Murdering Wife

Akolade Arowolo, who allegedly killed his banker wife

An Ikeja High Court, sitting in Lagos State, Nigeria’s south-west region, has sentenced Mr Akolade Arowolo to  death by hanging for killing his banker wife, Titilayo Arowolo.

While delivering her judgment on Friday, the presiding judge, Justice Lateefa Okunnu, held that even though there was no eyewitness to the incident, the circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution had proved the murder charge against the convict beyond all reasonable doubt.

Mr Arowolo had denied the allegation, insisting that the deceased wife mistakenly killed herself with the knife she wanted to stab him with when they were having a quarrel.

Justice Okunnu relied on the testimony of the forensic pathologist, Professor John Obafunwa, who testified that there were at least 76 stab wounds found on the deceased.

Contrary to the convict’s claim during trial, Professor Obafunwa had testified that the injuries must have been caused by sharp weapon applied on the deceased and could not have been self-inflicted.

The prosecution led by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Olabisi Ogungbesan, called 15 witnesses among whom were police officers and the father, sisters and step-mother of the deceased.

Mrs Titilayo Arowolo was killed on June 24, 2011.

Revealed: I Suffered Depression From Chime’s Treatment – Fmr. Enugu First Lady

Clara Chime.Wife of the Enugu State Governor, Clara Chime, has finally broken her silence in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, as she recounted her ordeal in the hands of her husband.

As Governor Sullivan Chime’s wife, she was in the public eye for about 5years. She has however been in the news recently because of the controversy surrounding her life in the Government House of Enugu State.

Things fell apart when she reached out to some members of the human right community and legal practitioner, Femi Falana, to save her from her husband.

Her appeal generated reactions from Nigerians and the civil society with several accusations, most of which bothered on unlawful detention and violence against women, given the physical and psychological suffering she was reported to be facing.

In this exclusive video, while recounting her experience, she also debunked claims that she had mental problem.

She said: “I suffered from depression and the treatment I got from my husband led to it.”

She also thanked Nigerians for coming to her rescue, expressing her joy that she is “now liberated.”

 

 

We Are Making Progress – Activists Speak On International Women’s Day

The Programmes Officer, OXFAM Abuja, Chioma Ukwuagu has attributed the imminent success of the Violence Against Persons Bill to advocacy for women’s right.

Speaking about the essence of the International Women’s Day celebration on our breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily; Ukwuagu said “It is an opportunity to advocate for change… We use the International Women’s Day as a platform to advocate to government and organisations to give ladies space to realise their potentials.”

She further stated that the International Women’s Day also serves as a day to empower and encourage women to take up responsibility in the society and contribute to the development of the country.

Asked if all efforts made towards women empowerment have been effective, Ms. Ukwagu affirmed that there has been improvement.

“We have gone beyond many obstacles” she said.

She cited an example of the Act on Violence Against Persons (VAP) bill, that recently passed second hearing and approved by the House of Representatives to be passed into law, which she states was achieved by advocacy.

However advocacy “is never ending,” she said. “We will continue to sensitise the populace and engage citizens on the rights of women.”

A Promise Is A Promise

The Executive Director, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, Adaobi Egboka speaking about the theme of this year’s IWD celebration, A Promise Is A Promise, states that it is time to call the different tiers of government to action and remind them of promises made concerning women.

Mrs. Egoka explained that the government needs to attend to all bills concerning women as legal backing will encourage the women folk to claim rights that are already in existence.

She admits that many advocacy groups have a hard time achieving their goals in the face of delayed justice.

She faults the Nigerian Legal System which hardly metes out adequate justice to offenders; one of the reasons many women choose to keep quiet as victims of domestic violence and discrimination.

She decried the average Nigerian woman’s mentality which sees marriage as a ‘gift’ to be embraced and endured irrespective of the treatment meted on the woman by the man.

She explained that the average Nigerian woman has been conditioned to bear domestic violence as a ‘cross’ which comes with marriage, hence they do not want to speak out.

“Those who are speaking out, you see that when they speak out nothing is done. A girl is raped and there is judgment of option of N50,000 or a year imprisonment which is after 3 or 4 years.

So in whose interest is the justice system, ” she asked.

She further stated that domestic violence and rape are two prevalent issues concerning women in the country and she blamed domestic violence on improper negotiation.